COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (June 28, 2008) – Kim Glass (Lancaster, Pa.) and Tayyiba Haneef-Park (Laguna Hills, Calif.) each totaled 14 points as the U.S. Women’s National Indoor Volleyball Team swept Dominican Republic 25-13, 25-21, 25-20 on Saturday evening during FIVB World Grand Prix Pool E action at Wroclaw, Poland.
Team USA, 4-1 overall in the World Grand Prix with four consecutive victories, concludes Pool E action versus host Poland on June 29 at 3 p.m. (7 a.m. Mountain Time). The U.S. travels to Chinese Taipei next week to finish the World Grand Prix preliminary round against Poland on July 4, Turkey on July 5 and Italy on July 6. The U.S. is tied for third in the 12-team tournament with Brazil, one loss behind undefeated tournament leaders Italy and China.
“We actually prepared for a difficult, five-set match,” U.S. Head Women’s Volleyball Coach ‘Jenny’ Lang Ping said. “Dominican Republic is a good team. They got the qualification, and they won the 2008 Pan American Cup. They play very well, so we had to prepare well, try hard and limit the errors. I’m especially pleased with our serves and hope that we continue to do well.”
The FIVB World Grand Prix includes three preliminary round weekends with three different sites each weekend hosting round-robin events of four teams. The World Grand Prix Finals, a round-robin format of the top five teams from the preliminary round plus host Japan, will be played July 9-13 at Yokohoma, Japan. The overall ranking in the preliminary rounds is decided by the total number of World Grand Prix Points (GPP) gained by the teams in the preliminary matches with two points awarded for a win and one point for a loss.
The U.S. picked up an early 7-4 lead in the opening set and used three Glass aces and seven Dominican Republic errors to win 25-13. Team USA used an 8-1 run to assume a 15-9 advantage in the second set en route to a 25-21 victory. The Americans turned in a 6-2 run to break free from a 10-9 advantage in the third set to win 25-20.
Glass, named the most valuable player of the match, scored her 14 points via eight kills on 15 attacks and a personal-high six kills in the match. She also added a team-best 12 excellent service receptions on 19 attempts with two faults and tied for team-high with six digs. Haneef-Park tallied all 14 of her points on kills and 29 swings. Logan Tom (Salt Lake City, Utah) contributed nine kills on 18 attacks and a block for 10 points, while Heather Bown (Yorba Linda, Calif.) added six kills on 12 errorless swings and a team-high four blocks for 10 points. Danielle Scott-Arruda (Baton Rouge, La.) contributed six kills on nine attacks, two blocks and an ace for nine points. Lindsey Berg (Honolulu) rounded out the scoring with a kill while setting Team USA to a .382 attack efficiency and 52 kill percent with 30 assists. Nicole Davis (Stockton, Calif.) charted 10 excellent receptions on 18 attempts. Tom and Berg totaled six digs apiece in the victory.
“We are very excited about the win tonight,” Berg said. “It is a big step forward for us at USA Volleyball, to compete during all three sets and be consistent. Our serving won this match for us - our volleyball works extremely well now. We’re going to take this win and prepare for the Finals and the Olympics.”
The U.S. started Bown and Scott-Arruda at middle blocker, Tom and Glass at outside hitter, Haneef-Park at opposite and Berg at setter. Davis is the designated libero for this leg of the World Grand Prix.
Team USA held advantages in all three scoring phases of the match. The U.S. topped Dominican Republic in kills 44-30, blocks 7-4 and aces 7-2. The U.S. held Dominican Republic to a 39 kill percent for the match as Team USA led 27-15 in team digs.
Milagros Cabral de la Cruz paced Dominican Republic with eight points, while Prisilla Revera Brens and Bethania De La Cruz de Pena each totaled seven points in the loss.
Earlier today in Pool E action, Thailand edged host Poland 19-25, 25-21, 18-25, 25-23, 15-4. In other World Grand Prix matches played today, Germany defeated Kazakhstan 25-17, 25-19, 25-21 and Brazil topped Turkey 25-23, 25-19, 25-15 at Vinh Phuc, Vietnam. At Hong Kong, Italy defeated Cuba 21-25, 25-19, 19-25, 25-20, 15-13 and China handled Japan 25-16, 29-27, 25-22.
The U.S. has qualified for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing and is using the World Grand Prix as an evaluation tool to help determine the 12-player roster for the Olympic Games. Team USA faces Japan on Aug. 9 to open the 2008 Olympic Games. Other teams in the American pool are Cuba (Aug. 11), Venezuela (Aug. 13), China (Aug. 15) and Poland (Aug. 17).
The U.S. scored the first two points of the opening set with a Glass kill after a Dominican Republic error. Dominican Republic answered with three straight points to take a 3-2 advantage. Team USA returned to the lead at 6-4 with two kills from Bown and a kill by Haneef-Park. The U.S. scored a fourth straight point at 7-4 on a Dominican Republic error. Haneef-Park connected for consecutive kills to increase the U.S. margin to 9-5. Team USA stretched the lead to 11-6 on a Scott-Arruda kill and Dominican Republic error. Haneef-Park and Scott-Arruda turned in consecutive kills to push the lead to 13-7. Tom and Scott-Arruda turned in back-to-back kills to increase the U.S. lead to 18-11. The Team USA lead stretched to eight points on a Dominican Republic error and Haneef-Park kill at 20-12. Glass started a 3-0 run of her own with a kill and two aces to push the lead to 23-13. Scott-Arruda added a fourth straight point on a block to reach set point, and Glass ended the set with her third ace in the run at 25-13. Haneef-Park tallied six kills in the opening set, while Glass added five points. Team USA converted 60 percent of its first set attacks into kills.
Dominican Republic grabbed an early 4-1 lead in the second set on four unanswered points. The U.S. narrowed the gap to one at 5-4 on a Tom kill and Bown block. Team USA tied the set at 6-all with a Glass kill after a Dominican Republic error. Glass served two aces between two Haneef-Park kills to put the U.S. in front 11-8 on a 4-0 run. Scott-Arruda crushed a kill followed by a Dominican Republic error for a 13-8 advantage. Tom produced a kill after a Dominican Republic error to extend the gap to six, 15-9. Dominican Republic cut the deficit to four at 16-12 with consecutive points. Haneef-Park connected for consecutive kills to push the Team USA lead to 21-15. Tom followed a Dominican Republic error with a kill to reach set point at 24-17. After Dominican Republic saved four set point opportunities, Tom finished the set with a kill at 25-21. Haneef-Park totaled six kills in the second set, while Tom got on track with five kills. The U.S. scored kills on 48 percent of its second set attacks compared to Dominican Republic’s 57 percent.
Glass opened the third set with an ace followed by two Dominican Republic errors for a 3-0 lead. Dominican Republic responded with three quick points to knot the score at 3-all. Bown and Glass tallied kills with a Tom Block putting the U.S. in front 6-3 on three straight points. Dominican Republic came back to tie the set at 8-all. Haneef-Park and Scott-Arruda turned in consecutive kills to put the U.S. in front 10-8. Glass scored back-to-back kills to extend the lead to 12-9. Scott-Arruda followed her own block with an ace to increase the USA advantage to 15-11. Bown added a block at the second technical timeout to put the U.S. in front 16-11. Bown and Scott-Arruda put up consecutive blocks to increase the lead to 20-14. The teams traded two-point runs with Glass providing a kill at 22-16. Haneef-Park and Tom tacked on kills to lift the U.S. into several match points at 24-17. After Dominican Republic saved three match points, Tom ended the match with a kill at 25-20. Bown and Glass provided five points apiece in the third set to pace the Americans. Team USA finished the third set with a 48 kill percent to offset five service errors in the frame.